Mel Gibson
Actor Mel Gibson has denied physically assaulting photographer Kristi Miller outside a Sydney cinemaReuters

Oscar-winning director and actor Mel Gibson has denied physically assaulting a female photographer outside a cinema in Sydney, Australia. Hours later, fellow actor Hugh Jackman was asked for his opinion on "celebrity conduct" in regards to the paparazzi but refused to directly comment on Gibson's incident.

News Corp Australia photographer Kristi Miller alleges that she was trying to take photos of Gibson, 59, and his reported girlfriend, equestrian vaulter Rosalind Ross, while they were leaving the Palace Verona cinema in Paddington on 23 August. Miller claims the Braveheart actor flew into a rage and proceeded to shove, spit and shout at her. Gibson's rep has described this story as a "fabrication".

The publicist told Guardian Australia: "Basically Mr Gibson and his friend were being harassed by this photographer and he asked her repeatedly to stop, which she did not. There was never any physical contact whatsoever and the story being told by her is a complete fabrication of the truth."

Recalling her version of events, Miller told Australia's Daily Telegraph: "I took a photo of Mel and his girlfriend and when I turned around he shoved my back really hard... It shocked me because I wasn't expecting it. I don't know if it was his hands or elbow. He was spitting in my face as he was yelling at me, calling me a dog, saying I'm not even a human being and I will go to hell."

According to The Guardian, Surry Hills police confirmed they were investigating an incident in which a man "became involved in an altercation with a photographer outside a cinema on Oxford Street". It is believed Gibson is in Australia to begin directing his new movie Hacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, and Sam Worthington.

Australian actor Hugh Jackman was attending a press conference to announce the Australian tour of his show Broadway To Oz on 24 August when he was asked for his opinion on the incident between Gibson and the photographer. The actor is said to have told reporters: "I really don't know what happened, so I'm not going to comment on that. What I teach my kids and everyone is that there is never really an excuse for violence. Sidestepping further comment. I'm going to let that one go through to the keeper."